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By Jacqueline L. Salmon
During the 2008 presidential campaign, one in 10 Americans believed that President Barack Obama is a Muslim. According to a new poll from the Pew Center for People and the Press, one in 10 Americans still believe it.
Despite Obama’s frequent references to his Christian faith, just as many people incorrectly identify him as a Muslim now as did during the presidential campaign. What’s interesting is that while most of those oppose him politically, a portion don’t hold it against him. They like the guy, they voted for him — and they think he’s a Muslim.
Among people who approve of his job performance, seven percent think he’s Muslim, says Michael Dimock, a Pew Center associate director. “It’s not always a statement of opposition or something that’s resonating on the right-wing list servs,” said Dimock. “It’s something that just happens to be out there.”
Overall, 17 percent of Republicans say they believe Obama is Muslim, exactly the same as during the election. Among whites, close to 20 percent of evangelical Protestants persist in that belief.
Among Democrats, far fewer believe he’s Muslim — only 7 percent. But that doesn’t mean most think he’s Christian. In fact, among Democrats, just 55 percent correctly identify him as a Christian. And that’s down slightly from 61 percent who thought he was Christian last fall.
That can’t be a trend that makes the White House comfortable.